apart enough

the oak stood not lonely but alone
just apart from the other oaks apart enough to be apart
but near enough to hear and be heard and be one of them

he stood tall proud strong wise or that is how he seemed
to the other trees in the grove
and the saplings as they sprouted about him

his roots grew deep into fertile soil
winding their way to nourishment
and water and holding fast to earth

his heart however was broken because
no matter how high his branches reached
and clawed to grip the sky above

he would remain in place and whisper to himself
at night when all other oaks slept
“here i am wingless and without flight”

and in the day again he would smile in the sun
as birds lit upon him to rest and to
chatter as only birds may

when finally one day he could no longer keep his sadness
and he whispered in a hush of leaves on wind
“little bird what are you”

she quickly cocked her head and said
“i am a bird what else would i be”
and she said nothing else

the oak who had kept his heart so long
could not accept this answer as whole
and he asked her

“little bird who are you what makes you a bird
and what makes me an oak”
the little bird quickly cocked her head and said

“i am a bird because i am a bird and you are an oak
because you are an oak”
the oak tree had not broken silence to be silenced

“little bird why are you?”
the little bird cocked her head
slowly this time and did not respond so quickly

“i am because i choose to be
a bird who flies and chirps and sings”
said the bird a poet unaware the beauty of her words

the oak was made glad by her answer
the oak who may never fly or chirp or sing
the oak who wants to know these things

the oak who was also a poet sat with the bird on this summer day
and she sat just apart from the other birds apart enough to be apart
but near enough to hear and be heard and be one of them

and the oak saw this and his heart grew brave and
the oak tree asked the bird
“how does it feel to fly?”

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